CHICAGO (May 27, 2023) - Following an exciting match that saw Georgios Koutsias and Maren Haile-Selassie score in back-to-back games, Chicago Fire FC head coach Frank Klopas spoke to the media following Saturday's 3-3 draw against the New England Revolution.
Chicago Fire FC Head Coach Frank Klopas
On the changes to tonight’s starting lineup and his thoughts on the team’s performance…
“Yeah, it's the third game in a week. So obviously like I said before the game, we had to assess certain guys, how they were. You know, we made the changes necessary but the changes were made in a positive way. We came on the road and we scored two goals, three goals.
Yeah, I felt the first 35 minutes into the game, I felt we dominated the game. We had an excellent performance being up 2-0 and then you know, momentum changed, obviously giving up those two goals right before the half.
And in the second half, look, we suffered a little bit, but then we found a way in certain moments to get the third goal and then they equalized late.
You know, they had chances, also. We can't take that away. They had chances in the second half. But you know it's a little bit bitter feeling right now because you scored three goals on the road and in the end you look at it and say, okay, with the chances they had, it's a fair result but it's a little bit bitter with the goals that we gave up.
You know, taking a point on the road against a team like this, normally you feel really good, and we still do but kind of feel like we left points here. But in the end, look, they also had chances. So fair result, but kind of bitter.”
On using a three-man backline…
“It's just the way we wanted to build our play up in possession. They had two forwards. We had the advantage in the back with the three. We boxed the midfield. They were in a diamond in the first 35, 40 minutes. We had the advantage, playing out of the back. We always set the advantage in the middle with our pivots. When we played that and we switched the point of attack, we always set really good triangles and numerical advantage once we moved the ball. And yeah, for me, there was no issue with that at all.”
On Georgios Koutsias’ performance in his first MLS start…
“Look, we knew that we'd have opportunities in transition. It's something that we talked about and we prepared in our game plan.
And you know, once we got the ball with Shaq [Xherdan Shaqir] and they pushed numbers forward, and then our ability in transition to break the first line, and if we could find Shaq where he was able to turn and have runs behind, we knew we would get opportunities like that.
You know, great start. He had a very good game obviously, and a great finish there. But he helped the team. He worked extremely hard. He's just going to continue to develop and get better and better. We used him out wide almost as a second forward coming in, and yeah, he showed a lot of composure with that finish. You see his pace, getting behind.
So he's a young player that's going to grow and he definitely doesn't lack confidence, like I said, and obviously scored two goals now in two games, his first start. He did really well, and he's just got to continue to push in the right way, and he's just going to get better and better.”
On Maren Haile-Selassie’s ability to play in multiple positions…
“Yeah, Maren [Haile-Selassie] has obviously got a lot of pace. He's got the ability to cover the width. At some times, he needs to drop a little bit deeper and that was the game plan because we wanted to force [Emmanuel] Boateng to come inside.
We didn't want him receiving the ball where he can face our back line. Maren being a little bit deeper, forcing him inside in the pockets, he was not a threat at that point because then Kendall [Burks] did a great job with him picking him up.
Maren also has the ability now when we win the ball with his pace in transition, you have Shaq on that side, their ability to rotate with Shaq comes at times wide. He comes inside in the half channels, and he's just a really dangerous player, a really good two-way player where he does it without the ball helping the team; but then his ability to get forward with pace, he's a very good one-on-one player and has the ability to finish and make the final pass. So it's great for us. His addition has been excellent.
And with [Mauricio] Pineda, it's a concussion protocol. I think they evaluated it, the doctors did, and now he's in that protocol. We have to see day-to-day, I don't know what -- how long he's going to be out but just hope it doesn't -- I not that long but he's done a concussion protocol.”